Seemingly healthy athletes who die of cardiac illnesses, sometimes right there on the field, is a tragedy you least expect.
We've reported before on former All-Star quarterback Reggie Garret of Orange, Texas. He threw a touchdown pass, went to the sideline, and suddenly collapsed. He died from a sudden cardiac death.
Studies from the American Heart Association indicate one in 500 athletes may be at risk for a sudden cardiac death. In an effort to avoid incidents like what happened to Garrett, Lubbock ISD is one of the few districts in the state which will now test its student-athletes for potentially dangerous heart ailments. It's the only district which will pick up the cost of the testing. Training began Monday for nurses and athletic trainers who will be conducting screenings for the 1,500 athletes in the district.
"During the annual physicals, athletic physicals, they ask a few cardiac questions and they listen to the heart, but that in conjunction with this, they're able to identify an estimated 85 percent of these kids who come through," Ashley Long said, who is with Cypress ECG Project, the company who's been in contract with LISD since November.
Last year, LISD held a voluntary trial run of ECG's. Of the 1,500 student-athletes district-wide, only 200 took part. Two of those 200 were found to have cardiac abnormalities.